Injuries suffered during arrest did not cause Somali-Canadian man’s death: defence

Injuries suffered during arrest did not cause Somali-Canadian man’s death: defence

Injuries suffered during arrest did not cause Somali-Canadian man’s death: defence

The injuries suffered by a Somali-Canadian man during an arrest in Ottawa four years ago did not cause or directly contribute to his death, defence lawyers told a police officer’s manslaughter trial Tuesday.

Lawyers representing Const. Daniel Montsion argued in their closing submissions that Abdirahman Abdi had a then-unknown heart condition that was exacerbated by his emotional and physical stress on July 24, 2016.

They told a virtual court hearing that a forensic pathologist found Abdi could have hit a “point of no return” in terms of his health before Montsion even arrived at the scene.

“A point of no return doesn’t mean that death is likely or the person’s unwell, it means that death is inevitable within that period of peril,” defence lawyer Solomon Friedman said.

The arrival of the first police officer, Const. Dave Weir, escalated the stress for Abdi, who ran away and was pepper sprayed in the face twice by that officer, Friedman said.

From that point on, “there are numerous instances where Mr. Abdi may have well been past the point of no return,” he said.

Abdi, 37, suffered a heart attack during the incident and died in hospital the next day.

Prosecutors allege the blows inflicted on Abdi — including punches Montsion delivered to his face with reinforced gloves — caused his fatal heart attack.

Court has heard Abdi suffered significant facial injuries, including a broken nose.

Montsion has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon.

Prosecutors told the court Tuesday the force used by Montsion was ”completely disproportionate and completely unnecessary,” particularly considering how quickly the confrontation played out.

They argued the officer failed to conduct his own assessment of the situation before jumping into the fray and did not consider any other possible course of action.

Security video of the incident shows Montsion “decided what he was going to do before he reached Mr. Abdi,” prosecutor Phil Perlmutter said.

Montsion had other options, including to simply back off, he added.

“In our submission, Mr. Abdi was contained. In our submission, Mr. Abdi was unarmed. In our submission… Mr. Abdi’s so-called aggressive actions were not as they’ve been characterized by the defence.”

Montsion “knew what those gloves were likely to do when they impact with somebody’s face,” Perlmutter said, and the officer used them as a weapon even though they may not be conceived as such.

The defence acknowledged Montsion swung at Abdi’s face before the man was brought to the ground, but argued the punches were meant as “distractionary blows” and caused no injury.

Lawyer Michael Edelson said security video of the confrontation does not show any bleeding after the punches from his client.

He suggested the injury instead occurred moments later when Abdi was brought to the ground by Weir, saying Abdi went “from standing to face down in a second or less.”

Even if Montsion did break Abdi’s nose, Edelson argued the Crown has not proven the force he used was intended or likely to cause grievous bodily harm.

The defence also argued the gloves Montsion wore, which had reinforced knuckles, were purchased by his supervisor and part of his uniform, and thus should not be considered a weapon.

Police were called to a coffee shop in Ottawa that day in response to reports of a man causing a disturbance.

Court has heard Weir was the first to arrive, but Abdi fled, and the officer caught up to him outside his apartment building a few blocks away. Montsion was called to assist.

The incident sparked several protests in Ottawa and other cities.

Closing submissions were initially scheduled for April but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Crown is slated to conclude its submissions Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 21, 2020.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read